Andre Kostelanetz Biography
Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980) was a well-known and respected conductor who began his career in Russia and proceeded to conduct the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and orchestras all over the world.
Kostelanetz was known for his performances during the early years of radio on CBS pioneering microphone techniques. He presented numerous concerts during WW II for the USO with his wife, the opera singer Lily Pons. The World War II programs instigated a desire to promote American music and he commissioned works by American composers on American themes. The works include A Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland, William Schuman’s New England Triptych and Ferde Grofe’s Hudson River Suite. With the New York Philharmonic he began a series of “Special” concerts in 1953 which evolved into the popular “Promenade” concerts that were held in the newly constructed Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center where he presented several premieres from 1962 to 1978.
The early years of his life in St. Petersburg left an indelible mark on Kostelanetz’ artistic aesthetic. He brought this polished, lush, and refined style to both popular music (a friend of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kerns, and Cole Porter) and standard classical works. He was a major force in introducing classical music to thousands and his deep friendships with artists and composers, his letters, memorabilia, manuscripts, and scores remain as testimony of his enormous contribution to the world of music.
New York Philharmonic Insight Series: Web Narrative about Andre Kostelanetz
This unique, interactive website dedicated on the 100th birthday of Andre Kostelanetz, explores his life and work. With photographs, music clips, and recorded interviews the site introduces several different aspects of his career from his childhood, early days of radio broadcasts, World War II USO tours, American composer commissions, and his performances with the New York Philharmonic.
Photo: Andre Kostelanetz